INTERESTED IN BUILDING A SMART HOME? HERE’S SOME CRUCIAL ADVICE! PART TWO
In part one of this series, we discussed the necessity for you, the homeowner, to take a very active role in ensuring that your AV Integration Consultant is hired at the same time that you hire your architect, interior designer, and builder in order that all planning for your smart home technology be initiated at the earliest stage of the process. This also allows for the early inclusion of the smart home technological hardware and labor as an important line item in the overall budget. In addition, when construction starts, your AV Integration Team must be kept in the loop as each stage progresses so that the smart home technology is installed as an integral part of the construction process rather than as a costly afterthought that could cause construction delays.
We also discussed some specific negative consequences that could result when a few homeowner favorites, namely automated window treatments, a custom home theater, and whole-home audio, aren’t accounted for in the architectural drawings from the get-go.
To quote Steven Douglas, owner of AV Enthusiast in Huntsville, Alabama, “Homeowners are normally unaware of the cost of high-quality networked technological systems. We don’t expect them to understand everything about the technology of the home they are having built. But I advise them to thoroughly consult with all the professionals involved from the beginning, including a highly qualified AV Integration Consultant,” adding, “A little forethought will go a long way.”
In other words, your role in the process is to thoroughly research what types of smart home products are available on the market today, and at the first planning meeting, present your AV Integration Consultant with a list of those technologies that you want implemented in your new home. Hopefully, that will prevent any desired smart home features from being overlooked and “throwing a snag” into the construction process. Your consultant will review your list and may very well know of some additional smart home technologies that are available. From that point, he will provide you with a basic understanding of how all those sub-systems must be compatible with your master control system, such as Crestron Home or Josh.ai, and will formulate a plan to successfully integrate your wish-list seamlessly into your dream home.
HOUSING THE HEART OF YOUR SMART HOME
As mentioned above, your smart home must have a resilient master control system to make the “magic” happen. It is essentially the “heart” of your smart home, and as such, must have an optimum environment in which to live.
This entails the construction of a custom-designed AV closet that blends into the architectural style of the home. It’s crucial that this feature be designed according to the operational needs of the devices housed within it, as well as for easy access for AV Integration Team members who install those devices. The space must be built to the exact dimensions needed to house smart home devices, which typically need additional depth in the structure as opposed to the average closet. Adequate width is also important, as the installation team will need “elbow room” in order to put each device in place.
Adequate air circulation, heat dissipation, and noise containment are issues that must be dealt with in any AV closet. Therefore, ultra-quiet fans must be installed within the structure, in addition to ventilated shelving and a ventilated door.
In addition, a cable management system included in the space will allow for the orderly placement of all cabling between devices, and sliding racks will facilitate the entire installation process.
If no plan for this comm closet is made from the beginning of the project, it will not be included in the architectural drawings, and will not appear on the builder’s construction plans. There will be nowhere to house the heart of your smart home, and an inadequate closet or other space will have to be commandeered for that purpose, causing unexpected, costly modifications that will be difficult to blend into the architectural style of the home.
INTEGRATION OF YOUR SMART TVs
When it comes to being left out of construction drawings, TVs are no exception, of course. Builders and architects seem to be unaware that modern-day smart TVs often require accommodations that weren’t needed twenty years ago. For example, one of the hottest trends in smart TVs today is a picture frame TV, such as the Samsung The Frame, mounted on a smart motorized mount, such as the MantelMount™ MM860. While this type of TV doesn’t require a nearby power outlet, the motorized mount certainly does. And that outlet must be placed in a location behind the TV where it will not interfere with the automatic operation of the mount. In addition, builders are still routinely running coaxial cables for TVs even though the industry standard now requires an HDMI interface cable. Once again, your AV Integration Consultant will address these issues during the planning stage and ensure that all pertinent information is included on the final drawings.
The same type of careful planning is equally important for an outdoor TV, especially if you want it to be poolside and hidden when not in use. This situation requires that the TV be mounted on a motorized, retractable lift, such as one made by Auton™, that lowers the TV into a specialized, protective housing in the ground when not in use. That housing and all cabling involved will need to be installed at exactly the right time during the installation of the pool decking so that it coincides with, rather than interferes with, that process. Timely communication between the Pool Installation Contractor and the AV Integration Contractor is essential to the success of such an undertaking, and it will only happen if the placement of the lift-mounted TV is on the construction drawings.
For further information and guidance on this topic, come back next week for Part Three of the series.
We want to assist you in understanding the essential “ins and outs” of building a smart home!
To schedule a consultation with a professional AV Integrator during your home construction process, please call AV Enthusiast at 256.882.5081.
Alternatively, simply drop by our showroom at 514 Madison Street in Huntsville Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM or Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
We look forward to meeting you!
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